Media Release - 14 October 2014
TIME TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO 1080 - "WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION"
The Royal New Zealand SPCA wants an immediate plan to find a more humane alternative to the use of 1080 poison to control possums, rats, and stoats.
"1080 poisoning is a horrible way to die and it is indiscriminate in what it kills," says Ric Odom, CEO of the Royal New Zealand SPCA.
"The Department of Conservation (DOC) is dropping more 1080 poison this year than ever before across huge swathes of our forests, despite the inevitable damage it will do to a wide range of 'non-target' animals and birds. We are saying there has to be a better way.
"These 1080 drops are not surgical strikes that only knock out so-called 'target' species. On the contrary, 1080 poison is a weapon of mass destruction that leads to the agonising deaths of many 'non-target' species, including deer, pigs, and, yes, native birds.
"DOC is dropping many tonnes of 1080 poison bait across New Zealand's forests and streams, potentially killing every living thing within the drop zones. This is unacceptable and there is much evidence to suggest that it is not the answer to the problem: the target species, particularly rats, always seem to bounce back, which necessitates more 1080 poison drops.
"It is simply not a sustainable way to manage wildlife in New Zealand. Are we going to keep dropping 1080 poison all over New Zealand forever? Is that the future we want?
"Moreover we appear to haveset up a double standard regarding the welfare of pest species, such as rats, stoats, and possums. The law permits the elimination of these and other inconvenient species and turns a blind eye to how inhumanely they are killed.
"Weas a country have decided there are two kinds of animals: those we care about and those we don't. If I fed 1080 poison to my dog, the SPCA would prosecute me with vigour. But if I fed the same poison to a possum there would be no repercussions at all.
"The Royal New Zealand SPCA exists to prevent cruelty to animals and promote animal welfare – and that means all animals, not just the ones we keep as pets or on our farms. Make no mistake, 1080 inflicts terrible, prolonged suffering on the animals that it poisons. We believe there must be alternative methods of pest control that do not inflict such awful suffering.
"We are not arguing against pest control. We recognise that rats, stoats, and possums pose a real threat to native bird species and must therefore be controlled in some way. What we are saying is there has to be a better way – and it's our duty as a nation to find it.
"The Royal New Zealand SPCA is standing by to work with DOC to help find more humane, more targeted, more sustainable, and more effective methods to control pest populations and protect our precious native wildlife. And we call on the Government to stump up the cash required to fund the search for these alternative methods."